Intro: When I was a young boy, I recall that we moved around quite a bit. After spending some time in this town, we would either move to another town or simply change houses within the same town. We never stayed anywhere for an extended period of time. Growing up, I was, in a way, a pilgrim.
Reading the Bible soon taught me that the Christian life is also a pilgrimage after I was saved, 1 Peter. 2:11. This evening, every saved person is a pilgrim for the Lord. The day we accepted Jesus into our hearts marked the beginning of a journey that will continue until we reach Heaven. Occasionally, this pilgrimage is a wonderful experience. At other times, it is at best challenging. However, it is always a pilgrimage that must be completed through faith in the Lord. I want to spend a little time tonight with the first pilgrim. Abraham was the first person to walk in faith with the Lord and leave everything behind. Despite the difficulties of his journey, Abraham received blessings along the way. Abraham, on the other hand, serves as an example for you and me this evening through his pilgrimage. He demonstrates to us how to live our lives with unwavering faith in and dedication to the Lord God Almighty. This evening, let's travel with Abraham as he sets an example for all of God's children throughout time. This evening, in The Commitment to a Faithful Life, he teaches us a lesson. I want to talk about three aspects of Abraham's commitment to a faith-filled life tonight. I. V. 4-5 ABRAM'S OBEDIENCE (Ill.) It took Abraham some time to reach the point where he was completely obedient to the Lord. He intends to bring each of His children there the same evening, Illinois 1 Sam. 15:22-23.) A. Involved His Separation: According to Genesis 12:1, God had called Abraham to leave his family and follow God by faith. Abraham had to get away from everything that would stop him from moving forward in his faith walk! (Note: This evening, the Lord's call is the same for His children! A burden that must be lifted, Heb, is anything that prevents us from progressing as He would have us do. 12:1-2.) (Note: You won't have to break off ties with your family as frequently as Abraham did. But if you choose to walk by faith, there will be times when they won't understand what the Lord is telling you to do, especially if they are lost. The Lord's will must take precedence in times like these! Ill. What Jesus said about this matter in Matthew 10:32-39.) B. Involved His Substance - According to verse 5, Abraham "took all his substance" when he left to follow the Lord. To put it another way, when the Lord got Abraham, he got everything! Abraham took everything and went after God, leaving nothing for the world to use. (Note: How much of a person's "stuff" has been dedicated to the Lord can tell you how committed they are to Him! We become fixated on the tithe. Additionally, I believe that one ought to give tithes. However, the Lord is just as concerned with what you do with the remaining 90% as He is with what you do with His 10%. Clearly, God desires your participation as well as His own. He does what He does for us to use for His glory and the work of His kingdom. Because of this, some people never have anything! They give the Lord one dollar, but they spend the remaining ten dollars on themselves and the things of the world—God will not bless that! He can bless you in ways you never imagined when He has you and your money. By the way, according to Luke 6:38, giving is the way to get; Mal. 3:10. That is a benefit, not a reason to give to the Lord and in His name! How much of your possessions possesses the Lord? Or do you distinguish between "your pile" and "God's pile"? I can assure you that your pile will be larger if you do! He may blow on your pile, so you should be careful. Hag, nothing will remain if He ever does. 1:5-11. Moreover, you really don't have a problem with your tithes and offerings if you have a problem with them. Your heart is not working right! Naturally, there is more to this than just God wanting our money. He wants us to dedicate everything to Him. He might want to make use of your car or house. He just wants you to give everything to Him so He can use it however He pleases! C. Included His Surrender: According to the Bible, Abraham gave in "as the Lord had spoken to him." Abraham was taught early on that obeying God's commands is the key to pleasing Him. It was the only sensible course of action, despite the difficulty of the Lord's call on his life. Clearly, faith does not prevent anything! It simply follows instructions and places its faith in God to take care of the rest! (Note: The sooner we understand that lesson, the better our progress on our own pilgrimage will be! The only way to fully experience the Christian life is to come to the place of total surrender, where everything is sacrificed to Christ, Rom. 12:1-2. When you read about Abraham's life, you might think that God wanted his possessions. Friends, neither Abraham's nor your possessions are important to God. Abraham was all that God ever wanted from Abraham! That was the focus of everything. Getting him on the altar was the goal of this man's suffering. That is where the Master needs us as well!) II. V. 4-6 ABRAM'S OPPOSITION (Ill.) Abram knew that not everything would be "smooth sailing." His pilgrimage would be fraught with difficulties, just as ours will be. Let us take note of a few challenges that Abraham encountered on his journey.) A. v. 4 The Days Opposed Him: According to verse 4, Abram left on his pilgrimage when he was 75 years old. Around that age, some people start seriously considering slowing down. This man is not! At that age, he decided to follow the Lord. Some of his family members, I'm sure, thought he had lost his mind. I can almost hear them trying to convince old Abram to think for himself, but despite his age, he is determined to follow the Lord. (Note: I just wanted to remind you that you will never be able to trade in your walking sticks and walking shoes for a rocking chair. You might one day be unable to teach anymore. You may eventually be unable to preach anymore. You never know when you might even be able to go to church anymore. However, there will never be a time when we can relax and give up on the Lord until we return to glory! Titus 2:2–3 says, "Don't let your age, whether you are young or old, prevent you from serving the Lord." 1 Tim. 4:12.) B. V. 6: "And the Canaanite was then in the land" refers to the darkness that stood in his way. That statement reveals a great deal about the nation into which Abram was moving. The Canaanites were a people who didn't believe in gods and were stuck in a religion that required them to worship a lot of gods. They had no regard for morality or decency and engaged in a variety of fertility rituals and human sacrifice. Abram was about to enter hostile territory, where neither his God nor his way of life would find support. However, despite the opposition he received from the darkness, he was determined to follow God! (Note: Since the time of Abraham, nothing has changed! "The Canaanite is still in the land" is soon discovered by those who decide to live a life of total devotion to the Lord. Our desire to live a life dedicated to the Lord is met with total hostility from the flesh, the world, and the devil. 2 Timothy says that if you decide to live a life of complete devotion, you might as well know right away that there will be opposition. 3:12. Naturally, if Jesus Christ encountered opposition and difficulty while walking this earth, why should we anticipate better treatment? Matt. Ill. 10:16-23; John 15:20. Even though the world is against the child of God, we should still decide in our hearts that we will live for the Lord no matter what it costs us personally as long as we have breath. Who cares if we are opposed, ridiculed, mocked, or detested? Who cares if we face persecution? We must faithfully stand firm in the face of all opposition if we are to live a life of total commitment, 1 Cor. 15:58; Eph. 6:10-18 - Stand!) C. V. 5–6 The Distance in His Way: About 500 miles separated Haran from Beersheba, in the south of Canaan. Today, that's not much of a distance, but when they had servants, flocks, herds, household goods, and everything else they had with them, this was a long journey. Abram would undoubtedly have been tempted to defer going all the way. However, these verses indicate that he continued. In point of fact, he just kept going until he had seen everything in Canaan, verse 9. He wanted to see everything because God had promised it to him! (Note: What a valuable lesson this evening for the child of God. How frequently do we feel tempted to unhook and quit the race? How frequently do life's burdens and practices become difficult? Aren't we prone to becoming worn out and wanting to quit? Just a word of encouragement, friend: remain competitive! When we get home, it will all be worth it. The path becomes difficult right now. You can rest assured that God is only attempting to shape you when it does. Make a firm commitment in your heart that you will never give up until you have seen everything that God has planned for you in your Canaanland! Just carry on following the Lord. We will one day reach the end of our journey and enter glory when we leave Canaan, but until then, just keep going for the Lord's glory!) D. V. 5: The Obligations He Had Abram was a man with many obligations. He looked after his nephew Lot and his wife Sarai. He was responsible for his servants, flocks, herds, and everything else that came with them. He would have believed, like the majority of men, that it was his duty to feed the entire group and meet their requirements. He had to have a lot of faith to put the unseen ahead of the seen and believe that God would take care of all of his needs. But that's exactly what he did! (Note: God also intends for us to reach that point. He wants us to get to the point where, at the Lord's command, we willingly give up the visible for the unseen. He wants us to arrive at the point where, despite the fact that we cannot see it, we are certain that we possess what He has promised us. 11:1. Matt., He desires that we travel to the location where He places all of our future plans, requirements, anxieties, concerns, and issues at His feet. 6:25-34. When it comes down to it, as pilgrims seeking the Lord, you and I only have one requirement: Put your faith in Him and leave the rest up to God!) III. V. 7 to 9: ABRAM'S OPPORTUNITIES This man received opportunities that others were unaware of while he was required to walk by faith to an unknown location.) A. v. 7: To Experience God's Promises: This man could travel through Canaan as a pilgrim knowing that every square inch is forever his and his children's! They are fighting this evening over that area of ground, but I have good news for you: the Jew owns that area! Abraham enjoyed the future as he traveled, even though he had yet to see it! (Note: What a role model he sets for the Lord's children! Faithfully, we can see the future as though it were now, even as we continue our journey to glory! Keep traveling for Jesus, friend; if you are saved this evening, you are as certain of reaching Heaven as if you were already there. 2:6!) B. V. 7-8: To Enjoy God's Presence Abraham had a companion who was above all others as he traveled. He had God by his side every step of the way! 1. In His Worship: It would appear that Abraham also constructed an altar each time he pitched his tent. As he traveled, he took the time to worship. The state of this man's heart can be heard clearly from his altars. His love for the Lord is exemplified by the fact that he constructed them in the center of Canaan, where the populace was surrounded by gross idolatry. (Note: The altars of God's people ought to be celebrated! not only in church, but also in every place we go. We ought to punctuate our days with time spent in His presence and prayer. According to John 4:23–24, we must make worship a priority in our lives. It is a powerful witness to those around us when we construct our altars without remorse for the God we serve! We ought to all be outspoken witnesses, and there is nothing wrong with sharing the gospel with others. However, when it comes down to it, if you have to explain to someone that you are a Christian and that you are different, then something is wrong with them as well! We ought to stand out from the rest of the world because of our devotion to Him!) 2. In His Wanderings: Abraham and God shared sweet communion and fellowship as he traveled. He worshiped the Lord and heard from God. Abraham seems determined to accompany God on his pilgrimage. (Note: Too many people make the effort to exclude God from their journey. That is destined for failure! God is always there for you as you travel, Hebrews, regardless of whether you acknowledge Him. 13:5. By listening to Him when He speaks and worshiping Him while you travel, you can include Him in your life, making the distances shorter and the trials easier to bear.) 3. According to verse 8 of In His Ways, Abraham set up camp between Bethel and Hai. Bethel means "House of God" in Hebrew. Jacob, the patriarch, would later meet God in a lonely night at Bethel, according to Genesis 28. "A Heap of Ruins" is the meaning of the name Hai or Ai. Israel would later gain a valuable lesson about obedience, faith, and the destructive power of sin from this location. It is fascinating to me that as Abraham traveled, he appeared to be heading toward the "House of God" rather than "A Heap of Ruins." This is a sign that Abraham was turning away from who he had been and toward what God wanted him to be! When a person sets out to walk with the Lord, that is what happens! (Note: The Lord will begin the process of transforming this "Heap of Ruins" that is our life in front of Him into a "House of God" for His glory once we decide to walk in His ways, 1 Cor. 6:19. According to 2 Corinthians, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels," 4:7. 2 Cor. says that He takes us as He finds us and molds us into His image. 5:17; 1 Cor. 15:49!) C. To Enter God's Place: Abraham continues his journey with the Lord at the end of this passage. He had a destination in mind. Even though he had set up his tent at a number of different addresses in Canaan, Abraham knew deep down that he was already in a faraway land. By sight, he had already turned and entered a place Heb called Heaven. 11:8-16! Friends, this is why Abraham's life is an example of successful living. Why? because He had a higher level of existence than other men. While his feet were on the ground, he lived in Heaven! He had a lot of possessions, but his possessions did not possess him. He trusted God to give and take as He saw fit as he held this world loosely. That's how you get through life with success! (Note: We need the Lord's help to turn our backs on the world! The things of this world will gradually lose their significance as we begin to live on a higher plane. Col., our journey down here will be transformed when we decide to have a heavenly mind. 3:1-3. We will stop thinking that we have this or that because of it. Jesus will be enough for us! When that occurs, we are well on our way to certain spiritual victory.) Conc: Abraham is an example of a man who lived a life of faith completely. Can you similarly describe your journey? Which nation are you more firmly rooted in—heaven or earth? God is still looking for people He can use to amaze the world by calling them to a life of faith. Would you like to? Are you the person God needs right now to change the world for His glory? This altar is accessible for those in need!

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